FDA warns of dog bone treats after dozens of illnesses, deaths reported

(WSVN) - If you’re a dog owner, you know not to toss a turkey or chicken bone to your dog because they are too brittle, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the risk goes beyond that, especially when it comes to “bone treats” that are sold in many stores.

The FDA says it has received about 68 reports of pet illnesses and about 15 reports of death related to bone treats, which differ from uncooked butcher-type bones because they are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats.

Treats described as “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones,” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones” were listed in the reports. The products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings, according to the FDA.

“Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet,” said Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA.

Illnesses reported to FDA by owners and veterinarians in dogs that have eaten bone treats have included:

  • Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
  • Choking
  • Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Death

“We recommend supervising your dog with any chew toy or treat, especially one she hasn’t had before,” adds Stamper. “And if she ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”

To report a problem with a pet food or treat, click here.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.